Oct 21, 2018 - World

Support for EU membership weakest among Italians

A new Eurobarometer survey finds that of all 28 EU members states, support for membership in the bloc in a Brexit-like referendum is weakest in Italy, where a Euroskeptic government is currently in power.

Adapted from Parlemeter 2018; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios
Adapted from Parlemeter 2018; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The big picture: The EU has seen a rise in Euroskeptic parties leading up to and continuing after the Brexit vote. But even as these parties accumulate power in countries like Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic, the share of Europeans who would currently vote to leave the EU does not breach 40% in any country. Frustration with the bureaucracy of Brussels doesn't appear to be enough for any country to endure the procedural nightmare we've seen from Brexit negotiations.

  • Italy's populist coalition has clashed with the EU over its deficit-busting budget proposal. The migration burden Italy has taken on since 2015 has also fueled attitudes of discontent toward Brussels.
  • This poll shows the "Remain" camp in the U.K. 18 points ahead of "Leave" — contrasting sharply with the results of the Brexit referendum, which Leave won by close to 4%. But two and a half years later, demographic changes and the lack of a breakthrough on Brexit negotiations may have changed voter attitudes, causing frustration that peaked Saturday when 700,000 protesters marched through London calling for a "People's Vote."
  • Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands — despite seeing far-right parties make gains in recent elections — remain staunch believers in the European project.

What to watch: A possible coalition of Euroskeptics led by Hungary's Viktor Orban and Italy's Matteo Salvini could cause major problems for Brussels if they perform well in next May's European Parliament election.

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